The core element of every sports film is emotion. Coach Carter is about the titular character making sure that his players get the future that they deserve: a life beyond basketball.
Pyre has that emotion. It's an RPG for sure, but it also feels like a sports game with a strong narrative set in a fantasy world. Kind of like Quidditch, Pyre is the fantasy equivalent of basketball. And it is damn fun.
As the Reader, you follow a group of exiles (people
banished from the Commonwealth) to the Downside, and learn that the only way an
exile can redeem himself is by performing rituals against other exiles. Your
group of exiles perform competitive rituals against other exiles in a three-on-three
match where the goal is to toss an orb into your opponent's pyre. Just like
You can steal the orb and pass it around just like basketball but it's more complicated and fast-paced than that. Each exile has an aura circling around them which temporarily banishes an enemy exile. You later learn to project these auras when attacking enemies. You also learn that by holding the orb, your exile is vulnerable as he loses his active aura.
As your team of exiles grows, more abilities unlock that allow you to build your own strategies to achieve victory. There's a versus mode if you just want to play magical basketball or if you simply want to practice your game.
The best part about Pyre is the strong narrative it offers. Each exile you meet has a
story to tell and you'll have many hours to get to know them.
The downside is that the location for the game is just as big a character as the exiles you meet. It's teeming with strange life and horizons that make you want to go exploring. Sadly, there is no exploration in Pyre, as the game progresses in a linear manner. It only switches back and forth between narrative and magical basketball.
With the narrative as its strongest point, Pyre has no game overs. If your exiles are defeated, the story continues without them and you have to make do with less characters. This becomes crucial as your exiles freedom is just within grasp.
There's a degree of compassion that is required when tackling this series of minor but important choices. If you're a stone-cold killer then you may want to consider giving Pyre a replay. You will want to sink in additional playthroughs to experience every single narrative possible.